Military waste system is shipped to the US army

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DEFENCE contractor QinetiQ has just shipped an innovative waste-burning unit to America for testing by the US Army.

The firm’s Gosport base landed a £1.5m contract in October 2009 to build a containerised pyrolysis waste disposal system, which compacts and burns solid waste, reducing it to 95 per cent of its original mass, as well as generating heat and electricity. For Britain, it’s been installed on HMS Ocean, and more units are being installed on ships being built.

David Pell, managing director of the energy business side of QinetiQ, said: ‘The defence industry has had a clear brief from the MoD – it’s the same in the US – to bring technologies forward that can help them solve their sustainability issues. They are concerned about the availability of fossil fuels in 50 or 60 years’ time.

‘They’re looking at slightly more blue sky options for the longer-term so the military can operate in a fossil fuel scarcity so if it’s scarce or runs out they can continue to operate as a fighting force.’

QinetiQ anticipates that after the trials of the pyrolysis unit – known as PyTEC – the company will be asked to build and deliver 10 units, which will be used in operational theatres.

It is being tested by the US Army at Fort Irwin, California.

Pat McGlead, business development manager at QinetiQ, said the unit could also reduce security threats, adding: ‘PyTEC reduces the need for outside contractors to access the secure base camp to dispose of solid waste, dramatically reducing potential threats. Not having to rely on local contractors for solid waste disposal gives commanders the flexibility to operate in terrain which would be otherwise unsupportable plus means they can manage their environmental impact.’